A palatal expander is a device designed to allow Dr. Terrana to take advantage of a child’s natural growth to correct dental issues.
An expander is custom-made and created to fit over a few top teeth in the back of the mouth. The appliance has two halves that are connected in the middle with a screw. To activate the device, you simply turn the screw a very small amount each day with a special key. This induces tension at the junction of the two palatal bones, causing them to gradually move apart. Once the desired expansion is achieved, we will leave the appliance in for a few more months to allow new bone to form in the gap and stabilize the expansion. Generally, palatal expanders are worn for 6-9 months altogether.
Palatal expanders eliminate or reduce overcrowding by creating space for all your child's upper teeth to erupt in their correct positions. They also improve breathing ability as a narrow or deep upper jaw makes it difficult for a child to breathe through his or her nose. This results in continuous mouth-breathing, which causes the unhealthy inhalation of unfiltered bacteria, dry mouth, and potential halitosis. Expanding the upper jaw can broaden the smile in an aesthetically pleasing way. This orthodontic treatment can limit the number of teeth that need to be removed to create space. It may also shorten overall orthodontic treatment time later on.